Here De Angels has been far from cooperative throughout his career, in fact he’s probably more well known for his barrier exploits than he is on the track.
That’s not to say he doesn’t have talent, far from it, but punters have been wary to support a horse which has no guarantees of even jumping from the stalls.
There is a sense of confidence around the horse going into the Ramornie Handicap today though, especially from jockey Jeff Penza.
He’s one of the top picks in the Ramornie field, Grafton offering a path to salvation after 12 months ago his career hit a brick wall.
The horse used to run for Lee Freedman and Mark Kavanagh but the big time trainers lost patience with him after a string of incidents.
He was sold through a tried horses sale with both stewards and punters probably glad to see the back of him.
One person who saw the promise though was Wendy Roche, she decided to take the risk and add him to her small stable in work out of Goulburn.
Penza has been a key player in trying to overcome the pre-race issues and if you take his word for it, they cease to exist.
“I’ve put him through the gates five times now and I’m very, very confident he won’t cause any trouble at Grafton,” Penza said.
“I’ve got to know about his traits and when he is going to rear up a little bit.
“The important thing is not to wrestle with him.
“Besides, drawing the outside means he’ll only be in the gates for 30 seconds at the most and that’s going to be a big help.”
Penza isn’t a household name in metro racing circles however he rides track work at both Rosehill and Warwick Farm as well as performing valiantly across the New South Wales provincial circuit.
For him the Grafton Carnival is a big deal and it’s one which has thus far eluded him.
“I’ve never been on a Ramornie runner who has been given a decent chance like Here De Angels,” he said.
It’s still a big question though, the last time Here De Angels was sent to the track he reared badly and dumped jockey Michael Rodd, that was in September last year.
After that it is easy to forget just how much promise he has shown when he actually gets into stride.
There’s no better example than the fact he’s run second to the wonder mare Black Caviar in the Rubiton Stakes.
He’s also run within a head of English Group 1 winning Australian export Starspangledbanner during the 2010 Oakleigh Plate.
If it weren’t for his bad antics Here De Angels would be a dominant favourite in a race such as this, but while he is well supported punters aren’t willing to forget about the past too quickly
There’s also the fact he runs into two time Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap champion Black Piranha.
The veteran might eb getting on but trainer Kon Karakatsanis says he still has him in great shape.
“The old boy looks a million dollars,” Karakatsanis said.
“He’s nice and fresh, just the way I want him.”
Black Piranha will have to set a new weight carrying record if he is to win the Ramornie Handicap, he’s been slugged with the maximum of 61kg.